Missions of the research consortium and research programme

Topics developed for the next four years

A Research Consortium provides an extremely flexible framework for discussions and collective thinking, which are essential for bringing together complementary competences and benefitting from the synergistic knowledge of both scientific communities:  ionic liquids specialists and their counterparts in polymers.

The consortium’s mission is to:

1 – Promote collective thinking about Ionic Liquid / Polymer associations by both communities: organic chemists for ionic liquids and polymerists. Figure 6 shows a diagram of the competences and fields of interest for both communities.

2 – Promote bi- or tri-lateral collaborations between teams with different scientific competences and sensitivities on clearly defined projects by participating in the implementation of scientific events such as workshops and research projects, in addition to the funding of missions by researchers, particularly young researchers, involving teams from both communities.  The different topics covered include the following scientific projects which shall bring together the two communities:

  • Improved knowledge of the physical and thermodynamic properties of ILs with a view to optimising the interactions with the polymer medium
  • Customised synthesis of ionic liquids for clearly defined polymer media
  • Synthesis of truly “green” ionic liquids by clean processes: analysis of the stability, toxicity and biodegradation of ionic liquids
  • Purification and regeneration of ionic liquids
  • Establishment of structural relationships (cation/anion functionalisation) and properties of the polymer material
  • Placement of polymer/IL systems in context


figure 6
Figure  6. Diagram illustrating topics that lead to synergistic research involving both scientific communities. 

3 – Create joint projects originating from these deliberations in the framework of calls for programmes, particularly of the French National Research Agency (ANR) (“Blanc”, CD2I, Materials & Processes, etc.)

For example, an ANR CD2I project had previously been envisaged in 2009 between the PCMB laboratory at the University of Tours, the IMP laboratory (UMR 5223) and the French Atomic Energy Agency (CEA) at Le Ripault. This project sought to focus on a new strategy for the production of competitive and environmentally friendly materials with the aim of developing eco-designed materials in an integrated chemistry-processes approach and for a given application: membranes. Based on the synthesis and implementation of materials in an ionic liquid medium, the project was going to be based on the expertise of partners in the following fields: IL design, synthesis, creation and characterisation of membranes for energy applications.

4 – Organise colloquia and a thematic school

The IMP laboratory shall organise a “Europolymer Conference (EUPOC)” from 2 to 6 September 2013 in Gargnano (Italy) on the topic of “Ionic Liquids and Polymers: new media for synthesis and modification of polymers for advanced applications.” Held since 1998, these EUPOC conferences are organised by the European Polymer Federation (EPF), the Groupe Français d’études et d’applications des Polymères (GFP – French Group for Polymer Studies and Applications), the Belgian Polymer Group (BPG) and the Associazione Italiana di Scienza e Tecnologia delle Macromolecole (AIM).

5 – Publication of a collective work on “Polymers & Ionic Liquids”

Elsevier has already contacted J. Duchet-Rumeau with regard to a publication on ionic liquids following its participation in the ILSEPT conference in Spain. Elsevier is interested in publishing a book on “ILs in association with polymers”.

Challenges and topics developed

NWe are expecting this unifying Research Consortium involving these two communities of researchers to produce fruitful scientific exchanges that will broaden the respective knowledge of each community and allow for the optimisation of polymer synthesis/creation of functional polymer materials using ionic liquids synthesised on a customised basis. The IL/polymer interactions must be broadly described and understood by precisely identifying the role of the cation, counter-anion and functionalisation in order to accurately anticipate the choice of the most pertinent cation/anion/functionalisation combination and its impact on the desired physical behaviours of the polymer in question.

There shall be five scientific topics developed in this Research Consortium, which shall bring together stakeholders from both communities in order to obtain the desired synergy. These topics may evolve or be supplemented during the life span of this Research Consortium.

1 – Design (molecular design) of the ionic liquids (ILs): Synthesis and characterisation of the chemical and physico-chemical properties of ionic liquids for their association with polymer media

2 – Synthesis and modifications of polymers in an ionic liquid medium

3 – Ionic liquids: structuring in volume and at the interfaces of polymers

4 – Ionic liquids for the implementation of polymer materials

5 – Polymers, ionic liquids and functional materials

Lists of publications in the field of ionic liquids